For years I've been spotting faces, cloaked figures, dogs, ghosts....you name it- pretty much everywhere and occasional when I see something really intriguing I'll photograph it. Enviably I end up on my hands and knees because often it's a piece of dropped rubbish that has over time, caught in the elements become something recognisable.
You'd be forgiven to think I'm losing it, but the condition called facial pareidolia is the ability to see faces, or other shapes in inanimate objects and this is an ability most people can do. Actually it's even prefeable as humans are hard-wired to detect and react to illusory faces in the same way as real ones.
In fact, Professor David Alais, head author of a study into this phenomenon, from the University of Sydney's School of Psychology, said: "From an evolutionary perspective, it seems that the benefit of never missing a face far outweighs the errors where inanimate objects are seen as faces.
There is a great benefit in detecting faces quickly, but the system plays 'fast and loose' by applying a crude template of two eyes over a nose and mouth.
Lots of things can satisfy that template and thus trigger a face detection response."